COSACOSA art at large, Inc.

Rating: 5 stars   13 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Economic Development

Location: 4427 Main St Philadelphia PA 19127 USA

Mission: COSACOSA art at large, Inc. is a non-profit organization creating new public art specific to the concerns of Philadelphia neighborhoods in direct, long-term collaboration with city residents. COSACOSA reasserts art's original role as a catalyst for community dialogue, creative cooperation, and positive change. Since 1990, COSACOSA projects have brought together thousands of citizens of diverse backgrounds and differing abilities to learn about art, about each other, and about how to work together.
Results: Art can honor our past, inspire our present, and challenge us to create the future we'd like to see. COSACOSA's goal is the education of our citizenry and the empowerment of our city's neighborhoods -- that the project participants will continue to work together for a better future, within and without the boundaries of their own cultures and communities. COSACOSA constituents work together to achieve shared objectives, including • originating new community-specific art, collaboratively conceived and created by individuals of differing backgrounds and abilities working together with professional artists; • ensuring the permanence of a high quality, accessible arts program providing all of our city's residents with meaningful opportunities to create art;. • lessening the physical, social, and economic barriers that often limit the audience for art and art-making;. • exposing our project participants to artist-leaders who represent new ways of working and thinking from those role models they may have previously encountered;. • initiating dialogues on art, health and community that include a multiplicity of voices, abilities, cultural visions and values; and • building a sense of community ownership and participation among the project participants.
Programs: COSACOSA designs innovative programs to deliver interactive dialogues through art directly into inner city Philadelphia neighborhoods. Each year, through extended, community-based artist residencies, we engage city residents of different backgrounds, ages and cultures to design and create site-specific public art projects in collaboration with professional artists. Since its inception, COSACOSA has brought together thousands of citizens from over thirty city neighborhoods to learn about art, about each other, and about how to work together. Our approach is multidisciplinary -- incorporating many possible artistic techniques, from painting to theater, from sound art to ceramics -- as well as interactive, creating safe forums for city residents to dialogue and build their communities through art-making. COSACOSA's first major initiative, Community Collections (begun in 1990), examines Philadelphia's cultural histories and changing urban landscapes through community-based artist residencies. In 1995, a second organizational initiative was established, the Healing Art Project, a youth development program exploring relationships between art and healing. Young people in the hospital come together with at-risk youth from local communities for interactive dialogue to design and create permanent, collaborative public art. In 2003, two new initiatives were launched, Artist.Sight.org, a gallery featuring exhibitions by community-based artists creating for cultural change and Connection Studios, a youth-centered art and technology program.

2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

COSACOSA has partnered with my community center for over 15 years, working creatively on issues of diversity and conflict resolution. The organization has become the "go to" resource whenever we need assistance with civic planning. The art we've created together as a neighbors helps us find ways to work together on other projects too. COSACOSA helps us make the community really "belong" to all of us!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

i have been involved with Cosa Cosa for over 10 years and am currently a board member. The organization enriches children's and community lives by involving people in improving their neighborhoods with art and gardens and Cosa Cosa comes away with renewed self confidence, hope and energy to help others.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I met Kim a few months ago when I volunteered to help with a mosaic for CHOP. As an local artist it felt great to be able to express myself in my community and help students and families make Philadelphia a more beautiful city. I was surprised and humbled by Kim's instant inclusion and warmth. She has inspired me to be a more involved person in my community.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Cosacosa has been working with my students for three years now. They come out to our location and work with students who would not otherwise have an opportunity to create art. The work our students have done is beautiful as well as educational. Our projects have celebrated the multicultural diversity in our school. Showing that all cultures are celebrated shows the equality in all cultures. The folks from Cosacosa work with the students asking what they want to see, what do they think represents them. This gives the students a real ownership in the project. Since the murals Cosacosa creates with our students are on the outside of the building, students can and do come back to reflect. Cosacosa helps out students make our school look better which makes the community better. The art work they create shows the multicultural community in which our school is located.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I met Kim, the director through a program COSACOSA was conducting about community volunteers and was so happy to be able to call her shortly after with the prospect of partnering on a public school mural. COSACOSA has been involved with the school now for several years, has created parts of an expanding mural each year, and have established themselves as a true partner at the school. The organization is extremely conscientious and has a true understanding - and I think love - of partnership with all the different players in community work. They even helped find and obtain funding for the projects, and then found a way to tailor the project to the available funds. I recommend this group whole-heartedly and with no reservations.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I am an architect and member of the PSCA education committee and we are entering our 3rd year of partnering with COSA COSA to bring art programs to an under-served public school, Andrew Jackson. They are able to help the students truly express themselves and find an artistic voice, while integrating educational material with the curriculum. The students seem moved by the work they do, and the beautiful murals on the exterior of the school bring a great sense of pride to the community.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

As an Art teacher, I was very impressed by COSACOSA's organization and personnel. They are professionals with expertise doing wonderful work for the greater good!

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

COSACOSA is unbelievable and a tremendous assest to the Philadelphia community and beyond. They are a model for social justice and service learning. They completely under gird all their efforts with a deep understanding of the differing communities they are serving and the unique personality and complexity that they seek to give voice to. Art is a form of voice and expression and COSACOSA seeks to empower these communities in such creative expressions. I am the director of Service Learning at The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr PA and we have partnered with COSACOSA over the last several years in a variety of venues. COSACOSA serves as an important bridge to the Philadelphia school system and we have brought our entire upper school over three service day to work in the schools with their guidance and planning. We also have had our seniors partner and complete their three week service partnerships with COSACOSA and they have 100% found it one of the most inspiring sites with a felt impact in their three weeks of service. I feel honored to call them our partner in effective social impact and we are a better educational institution because of them.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

COSA COSA is a partner you can count on to help solve problems in the nieghborhood, in the schools, and to make our city a better place to live. COSA COSA brought my community organization together with others with similar goals from all parts of Philadelphia. We may come from different places and speak different languages, but together we empower each other to do the necessary work for our neighborhoods that need help.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Cosa Cosa Art at Large is a true gift to the people of Philadelphia and those who have been lucky enough to have been a part of any of their many programs. I have watched as this organization has grown under the sure and steady guidance of Kim Niemela whose unending passion for reaching out to our under served communities is boundless. Cosa Cosa has done amazing work with the sickest children in our local hospitals,created beautiful community gardens, brought art and literacy to our schools and created dialogues between neighboring communities. I have been fortunate to serve as a board member as well as volunteer on various projects for many years for Cosa Cosa and look forward to many more years of serving them in any way I can.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar